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Best Mac hardware for a somewhat newby webmaster

10:11 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a few websites up and running along fine, all done on my 12" G4 iBook. The process of working on a real small space has been an experience. The time has come to move onward to some better tools, I am looking at a desktop Mac with a couple of monitors, etc. Can anyone advise on the best monitor sizes, the best number of monitors, which Mac computer, etc. My budget is around $12,000 USD, I already have an awsome chair and desk for comfort. So, what would be your perfect set-up?


10:45 am on Sept 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi shaku007

Well, no-one has risen to your bait.


Buy one 20" iMac, and use the $10,000 to acquire good content for your websites - you want the website visitors to benefit from reading the site, not you to benefit from writing it....

Yours, with tongue not as far in my cheek as it might be...
(With one 20" iMac but with a prestigious UK website award instead of an awesome chair)

1:33 pm on Sept 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would make a few changes to Derek's recommendation. Unless they've changed the hardware configurations, the iMac won't run multiple monitors. I'd go for the G5 tower -- even with a 20" widescreen, I bet you'd benefit from a second monitor. I have two 19" LCD flat panels, and I often find myself wanting a third.

Ramp up the machine with as much RAM as it'll hold.

Get a good multi-button mouse and a comfortable keyboard.

Get one or more external hard drives. I periodically clone my internal hd to a partition on an external hd (in addition to my regular scripted backup to CDs). If my entire machine got hosed, I could be back up and running with a whole new machine in a few minutes, simply by booting off the external hd, with all my installed applications, system configurations, databases, etc., in place and ready to go.

And get yourself a cheap PC, or run BootCamp or Parallels, so that you can test your sites in Exploder on Windows. I find a separate PC works better (for me) than running Windows on my Mac, but whichever way you do it, you have to test on Windows.

If you have enough $$ left, a laptop can be quite useful, for travel, for meeting with clients, and as an emergency backup computer. I have a 12" PowerBook, but the bottom-of-the-line iBook would likely serve the purpose just as well.

Network all of this stuff (preferably wirelessly) so that you can access any machine from any machine.

4:26 pm on Sept 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There is a way to use an additional monitor on the G5 iMac, I read of this on Macworld Magazine's website. The software is called Screen Spanning Software, have not tried it as of yet. Also, another piece of hardware called a VGAtor by Dr. Bott.

From Macworld:

"The VGAtor lets you use flat-panel displays with DVI and ADC connectors on any computer with a compatible VGA video card, including pretty much all of Apple’s computers."

I am leaning towards two monitors as I like to have a few things going on at the same time, perhaps three would be better though.

I currently have two Lacie external hard drives, one has a back-up of my iBook using the software SuperDuper. My iBook did at one time go on the blink, I was able to boot up from the external in three minutes and work as normal until I had some free time to have the iBook hard drive replaced.

Thanks for the help guys, so much for me to learn, my hope is to get the hardware and software to speed along this process.


5:37 pm on Sept 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'd go for a 20" Intel iMac as well! It now allows mirroring or extended desktop.


Look under the ATI graphic for more info.

Of course the rumor sites say that a 23" iMac might be released Sept. 12th so I'd wait another week or two if I were you.

Save the rest!

2:54 pm on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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With that kind of budget, I'd suggest you consider getting a second Mac altogether, maybe a Mini or a MacBook. Then you can tinker on that without the fear of putting yourself out of commission.

Also, you can run Windows (you'll be wanting to check your sites with IE 6/7, right?) on the "spare" Mac to reduce the chance of Windows malware affecting your primary machine.

(And are you sure you want your primary machine to be a desktop? Those MacBook Pro's offer a lot of power without confing yourself to the office.)

5:06 pm on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Now that the new 24" iMac is out....that ought to be enough screen room for websites and the iBook can be be email, etc.
12:56 pm on Sept 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to add a question to this thread. The Mac set up I have now has a large enough external monitor. My OS is 10.3, I have plenty of space on my hard drive since I backup everything and I've pushed my RAM to the limit--in a G3 Powerbook, alas.

I was working G4 Macs in a job that I recently left and the performance was better than my office here, but then they were new machines with a 10.4 OS. (Gotta love Spotlight.)

I'm thinking of getting the 20-inch iMac with the fastest chip (2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo--I have a 400 MHz processor in my G3 now) with 2 GB. That's going to cost just under $2,000.

What's slow (but not horrible) is Dreamweaver 8, but I never used Dreamweaver on anything else, so perhaps Dreamweaver is just a drag.

Am I going to be $2,000 happier? I think I am.


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